This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The KBO enters its final game of the week with two teams that missed out on the playoffs last year (the Lions and Landers) tied atop the standings, while all five of last season's playoff teams trail them by no more than two games. Saturday's action featured a wide array of results. The Heroes beat the Dinos by a 13-4 score behind seven innings of two-run ball from Eric Jokisch and multi-hit games from seven players, including a four-hit day for Hye Seong Kim. Elsewhere, Ryan Carpenter allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings while striking out eight batters as the Eagles beat the Wiz, 5-0, with Ryon Healy hitting his second homer in three games.
Sunday's action features an unusual group of pitchers that includes several true aces, a few exploitable arms and not much in the middle. The action kicks off at 12:58 a.m. ET and appears to be rain-free.
On a day with so many strong starters, you certainly don't have to pay up for Andrew Suarez ($10,100), but he's the most expensive pitcher for a reason, and the large number of credible alternatives could mean he's less highly-owned than normal. His numbers through his first eight KBO starts could hardly be better. He's yet to give up more than three runs in a start, giving him a 1.68 ERA to go with his 1.06 WHIP. He's also yet to strike out fewer than five batters, giving him a 29.8 percent strikeout rate. Both his floor and ceiling are about as high as you could ask for, making him a great choice against the sixth-ranked Landers lineup.
Even if he hasn't matched his dominant 2.50 ERA and 1.02 WHIP from last season, Dan Straily ($7,700) has no business being anywhere near as inexpensive as he is Sunday. He's had a pair of poor starts this season, giving up six runs in late April and five in early May, but his other six outings have all been quality starts. Even with those two poor performances, his 2.91 ERA and 1.29 WHIP are more than good enough to make him one of the better starters in the league, as is his 25.7 percent strikeout rate, which has risen close to his 26.4 percent mark from last season after he struck out 12 Eagles over six shutout, one-hit innings in his last trip to the mound. The Bears will pose a much stiffer test, but Straily is good enough to shut down any offense and is a big bargain here.
Drew Rucinski's ($9,000) season looks a lot like Straily's. He has two very poor starts, allowing eight runs in a late-April start and seven in an early-May outing, but the rest of his starts have been excellent. He hasn't given up more than a single run in any of his other six trips to the mound. On the whole, his 1.44 WHIP is higher than you'd like, and his 11.4 percent walk rate is far worse than his 6.9 percent mark from last season, but his 3.00 ERA is quite good and is a near match for the 3.05 ERA he recorded in both of his first two seasons in the league. He also has plenty of strikeout upside, as his 23.9 percent strikeout rate is a career best. He'll face a lefty-heavy Heroes lineup, though he hasn't struggled against lefties in his KBO career, allowing a .648 OPS against them compared to a .626 mark against righties.
The Tigers could have been a potential stack recommendation Sunday in the league's best hitters' park against Lions southpaw Seung Min Lee, who owns a 5.89 ERA, but the team's offense is both struggling and fairly left-handed. Won Jun Choi ($4,900) is one of those lefties, though his OPS is 45 points higher against same-sided pitching over the course of his six-year career, so he's a fine play here especially given the matchup and park. The outfielder has been on an incredible tear over his last nine games, hitting .500 (including five games with three or more hits) while stealing six bases.
The Dinos don't have the easiest matchup on the slate against Heroes righty Won Tae Choi, but he's quite hittable despite a 3.41 ERA, as his 1.51 WHIP and 14.0 percent strikeout rate suggest. He's certainly not at the level where you should avoid using top-tier hitters like Sung Bum Na ($5,400) against him. Na is technically having a down season, but it says a lot about his talent that a down season for him involves a .273/.358/.515 slash line. More of his hits have fallen in lately, as he's hitting .350 over his last 10 games after hitting just .248 over his first 30.
Sticking with the Dinos, Hui Dong Kwon ($3,400) has hit second in each of his last eight starts and will be a strong option given his price if he occupies that spot again Saturday. His .233/.381/.467 season slash line is nothing special, but that should rise along with his .221 BABIP, as he's posted a BABIP north of .290 in each of his last six seasons. He's had success despite the fact that so little of his hits are falling, posting career highs in both walk rate (18.6 percent) and isolated power (.233). That keeps him interesting at his modest price even without considering that he frequently occupies a prime spot in the league's best lineup.
Eun Seong Chae ($4,000) posted an unremarkable .711 OPS in his first 13 games this season before landing on the injured list with a finger issue. Since his return, he's been far better, hitting .271/.338/.571 with five homers and 20 RBI in 17 games. He's not an elite hitter but is a strong mid-priced option, as he hit .293 with 15 homers last season. He'll get the platoon advantage Saturday against young Landers lefty Won Seok Oh, who owns a 6.16 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 30.2 innings so far this season.
Stacks to Consider
Kim was the sixth pick in the 2018 draft but has yet to show much of anything at the KBO level. Prior to this year, the 21-year-old lefty's only KBO experience came back in his draft year, when he allowed 14 runs in 13 innings of work. He's technically fared better in four starts this season, but not by much. In 17.2 frames, he owns an 8.66 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. His 10:13 K:BB certainly doesn't suggest that better days are right around the corner. A trip to the league's most hitter-friendly park is unlikely to improve his numbers, either.
A lefty on the mound for the Tigers means we'll prioritize the Lions' righties here. Pirela has been excellent all year but particularly loves hitting at Daegu Samsung Lions Park, where he's hit 10 of his 12 home runs. Kang has cooled down after a blistering start but remains one of the top catchers in the league, as he's been for the bulk of his 18-year career. His .932 OPS represents his highest mark since 2016. I've gone with Lee over one of the team's more expensive lefties here, but Kim may not last very long this game, so ignoring the platoon disadvantage could be worth considering. Lee's .658 OPS on the season is poor, but he can at least partially blame a .257 BABIP. If he performs closer to his .749 OPS from last season going forward, he'll be a solid budget option at third base.
There's very little to analyze with Lee, who's made a grand total of two KBO appearances. He threw a scoreless inning of relief in his KBO debut on May 12 but was asked to start three days later, and it hardly could have gone worse. He failed to complete the first inning against the Heroes, allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits and a walk. The 21-year-old lefty was a fourth-overall pick back in 2018, but there's little reason to fear him at this point. He's been decent enough in 18.2 Futures League innings this season, though his 3.38 ERA comes with a 1.61 WHIP.
Kang won't get the platoon advantage against Lee, but nothing in Lee's track record suggests Kang is likely to face him more than once or twice. He's been good enough this year to be virtually matchup-proof, hitting .407/.474/.573. Bae doesn't have much power, homering just twice this season, but a .313 batting average and 13.5 percent walk rate make him a strong option to set the table for Kang. Sim has typically hit ninth, which isn't ideal in that it limits his total plate appearances, though it does keep him close to Kang and Bae, who typically hit in the first three spots in the order. The shortstop has hit well enough that he could be making a case to move up the lineup soon, as he's hitting .304/.357/.429 on the year while stealing six bases.